Gordon Elliott: The verdict on my Sunday runners at Punchestown
Betfair Ambassador discusses his runners at Punchestown on Sunday, including five horses competing for a valuable pot, and picks his best chance of the afternoon...
14:10 - Chosen Mate
"He won a Fairyhouse maiden hurdle in good style a couple of weeks ago when he was making his debut for us. This is going to be a much tougher test for him. But I’d be expecting him to run well."
My best chance starts things off
14:20 - Chosen Mate
He won a Fairyhouse maiden hurdle in good style a couple of weeks ago when he was making his debut for us. I thought he jumped well and for an ex point-to-pointer he coped well with coming back to two miles. This is going to be a much tougher test for him but the way he won at Fairyhouse suggested that he was worth a try at a decent novice hurdle and I'd be expecting him to run well. He's going to improve nicely from his last run.
Good run would be no surprise
14:20 - Tintangle
Tintangle ran a respectable third to Honeysuckle last time but I'm not sure we saw the best of her that day as she didn't seem to travel as well as she did when she was third to Aramon in a Grade 1 at Leopardstown over Christmas. At her best Tintangle is a very talented mare and I'm not sure we have seen the best of her over hurdles to date so a good run from her wouldn't surprise.
Better horse than recent form suggests
14:50 - Acronym
Acronym was very disappointing at Leopardstown over Christmas where he didn't run any race whatsoever having previously shown up well to take third in a maiden hurdle at this track. I'm happy to draw a line through Leopardstown as his previous form shows that he is a much better horse and if he can return to his best he will run well.
14:50 - Dark Decade
Dark Decade is taking a little while to get the hang of things but on both his runs to date I think he has run better than his final position would indicate. I think this is a good trip for him and hopefully he will step forward from what he showed at Navan last time. He is going to have to improve on what he has shown so far but I know that he is a horse that can progress further.
Stamina to go close?
14:50 - Lethal Steps
Lethal Steps didn't jump very well on his debut but he did warm to his task in the closing stages of that race and I thought that he progressed nicely from that run to finish second to a smart horse of Joseph's in a maiden hurdle at Naas last time. There is more to come from him as a hurdler and his last run suggested that he could be worth trying over a longer trip, so we are stretching him out to two-and-a-half miles. If his stamina holds up I'd be expecting him to go close.
Three mile test
15:15 - Load Up Time
He has put together a couple of good runs lately and his last effort at Navan would suggest that he can win a handicap this season. He got two-and-a-half miles well last time at a stiff track so I thought it was worth trying him over three miles to see could we get a bit more improvement out of him. If he runs the race he did the last time out, he should at least reach the frame.
Another good race?
15:50 - Monatomic
After some good runs in defeat he deservedly got his turn at Down Royal last week when he ended up having to work harder for victory than had seemed the case for much of the race. He is a grand, consistent horse who likes decent ground and the form he has shown this season entitles him to run another good race, although a couple of these look much better treated at the weights.
Softer ground would suit old favourite
16:20 - Don Poli
This is a very valuable pot so we're keen to try and win it again and we've got seven runners but a few of them are going to have to step forward in a big way from what they have shown lately.
Don Poli has struggled badly in his two runs since coming back from injury. He has pulled up both times and I think he'd prefer much softer ground than he will get here to be seen at his best.
Huge step forward needed
16:20 - Monbeg Notorious
Monbeg Notorious had a really good time of things last season when he won the Thyestes Chase. He was a bit later getting going this season and he would have needed his run in the Thyestes last time. But even so, he was well beaten and he's got to take a huge jump forward to play a part here. He too would prefer softer ground.
Return to form would be timely
16:20 - Dounikos
Dounikos was well held when he fell in the Thyestes last time but his previous run in the Paddy Power Chase was quite encouraging and if he returned to that form I think that he could run well. In the last couple of seasons he has seemed to lose his way in the last few months of the season and I just hope that isn't the case.
16:20 - General Principle
General Principle is off a mark that gives him a chance of winning another good handicap. I thought he ran a solid race in the Paddy Power at Christmas and his latest fifth in the Thyestes was a respectable effort. He does tends to come to himself in the spring and I think he has a good chance of reaching the placings at least.
Frustrating horse could confound form
16:20 - Woods Well
Woods Well is a frustrating horse as I feel he has the ability to win a good handicap but most of his form in big field handicaps has been quite disappointing. He had a run over hurdles to sweeten him up last month and he shaped quite nicely for much of that race before fading out of contention so I wouldn't be shocked if he showed up well here even though his form suggests otherwise.
Waiting for soft ground
16:20 - Space Cadet
Space Cadet is one of those horses that has been waiting all season for soft ground and I haven't been able to get a run into him since he ran in the Troytown at Navan in November. Last season he was placed in the Thyestes, this race and the Leinster National so he is more than good enough to make an impact but I would like to see the ground soften quite a bit for him and ideally I'd have preferred another run between the Troytown and here.
16:50 - Yendo
Yendo is a grand horse who shaped quite well for a lot of the race on his debut at Fairyhouse a couple of months ago. As that was his first run I was keen to give him plenty of time after that race and he seems to have done well since then. He's in good form and has shown up well in his recent work so I'd expect that he will be able to give a good account of himself here.
Nice type can challenge
16:50 - Cats for Cash
Cats For Cash is a nice type who has always shown a nice bit at home. I thought that he might need his run at Fairyhouse last month as it was his first run since June but he still showed up nicely to finish second to another horse of ours. He should improve from that last run which would entitle him to mount a strong challenge for victory.
Gordon's best chance of Sunday: Chosen Mate (14:20)